Medjedovic Defies Michelsen Comeback In Late-Night Jeddah Thriller
Hamad Medjedovic may have been a late arrival in Jeddah for the Next Gen ATP Finals presented by NEOM, but he wasted little time bringing some drama to the 21-and-under season finale on Tuesday night.
The Serbian held off a spirited Alex Michelsen comeback and a bout of cramp in the final-set tie-break for a 4-2, 4-3(3), 3-4(3), 3-4(5), 4-3(4) victory to round out the opening day of action in style in Jeddah. Medjedovic deployed his heavy forehand to great effect throughout the two-hour, 27-minute encounter and fired 47 winners, including 14 aces, to prevail in the third-longest match in Next Gen ATP Finals history.
“It’s a very special feeling to win my first match at this tournament,” Medjedovic said. “When he levelled at two sets all I felt he had the momentum after I didn’t use the chances that I had.”
The 20-year-old only touched down in Jeddah at 1 a.m. on Monday morning due to being part of Serbia’s team at the Davis Cup Finals, but he appeared to have acclimatised quickly to his new surroundings. Medjedovic’s consistent powerful striking kept Michelsen under pressure as he opened a two-set lead, and he later said that he felt comfortable with the new rules and innovations in use this week.
“I was lucky that I played last match [today],” he said. “I watched these guys and saw how they were doing, and I was okay with the rules.”
After Michelsen dialled in behind serve to roar back into the pair’s maiden Lexus ATP Head2Head meeting, Medjedovic was serving at 2-2 in the fifth set when he was struck by a bout of cramp in his calf. After holding on for 3-2, he took big cuts at the ball to try and shorten points, a tactic which ultimately paid off as he won the first three and the final four points of the tie-break to move to 1-0 in Red Group.
The second Serbian to compete at the Next Gen ATP Finals after Miomir Kecmanovic in 2019, Medjedovic has risen 147 spots from No. 257 to No. 110 in the Pepperstone ATP Rankings this season. His next test in Jeddah is a clash with second seed Luca Van Assche on Wednesday night, when Michelsen will hope to notch his first win of the tournament against Abdullah Shelbayh.